CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
March 29, 2020
Forward Thinking

Penn State tops list of best schools for supply chain management

Gartner study also finds industry paychecks on the rise with average starting salary for an MBA with a supply chain concentration at US$88,935.
Top 25 2018 North American Graduate Supply Chain Programs
Rank Program
1 Pennsylvania State University
2 University of Michigan
3 University of Tennessee
4 Michigan State University
5 Rutgers University
6 University of Minnesota
7 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
8 Arizona State University
9 The University of Texas at Dallas
10 University of Wisconsin-Madison
11 Georgia Institute of Technology
12 Indiana University
13 Northeastern University
14 Ohio State University
15 North Carolina State University
16 Texas Christian University
17 Wayne State University
18 University of Southern California
19 Howard University
20 The University of Texas at Austin
21 University of South Carolina
22 Syracuse University
23 University of Houston
24 University of Washington
25 University of San Diego
Source: Gartner (September 2018)

The top-ranked supply chain graduate program in North America is Pennsylvania State University, based on a biennial survey conducted by the research firm Gartner Inc. that evaluates schools' curricula, experiential content, and public reputations, the firm said Thursday.

The survey also showed that supply chain paychecks are on the rise industry-wide. According to Gartner, the average starting salary for a master of business administration (MBA) graduate with a supply chain concentration is US$88,935, up from US$83,597 in 2016. Likewise, the average starting salary for a student holding a master of science in supply chain management (MSSCM) degree is US$83,066, up from US$79,232.

Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner surveys and ranks universities in the U.S. and Canada every other year, in order to help recruiters like chief supply chain officers (CSCOs), heads of supply chain strategy, and supply chain human resources (HR) partners to identify the programs best equipped to help them hire the right talent, the firm said.

This year, Gartner collected responses from 46 qualifying schools that replied to its survey and produced a top-25 ranking of both undergraduate programs and of advanced degree programs, including either campus-based or hybrid online/campus approaches.

The results showed that Pennsylvania State University led the graduate rankings for the second time in a row, while the University of Michigan moved up two spots to number two, and the University of Tennessee was ranked number three. See Figure 1 for the full list of all 25 schools.

The survey also revealed several trends in supply chain education, including a rapid growth in the number of academic programs being offered. The number of one-year or part-time MSSCM programs grew by two-thirds in two years, from 18 programs in 2016 to 30 programs in 2018, according to Dana Stiffler, research vice president at Gartner.

Another trend is the increasing role that technology plays in supply chain education. Seventy-nine percent of supply chain MBA programs now feature dedicated technology content, up from fewer than half of the programs in 2016. MSSCM programs showed a similar change, with 83 percent offering dedicated technology content, compared to just two-thirds of the programs in 2016, Gartner said.

A third trend revealed by the analysis is that the new generation of students shows much broader diversity in gender and ethnicity than past classes. "Graduates on average are more diverse than the supply chain organizations that want to hire them, with women accounting for 37 percent of the supply chain graduate student population and ethnic minorities for 48 percent," Stiffler said.

Gartner did not supply demographic data for the portion of women and minorities currently employed in supply chain jobs.

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